In interviews on Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen reacted to schools requiring masks when there is an increase in coronavirus cases by stating that the CDC wants people to get vaccinated against COVID, flu, and RSV, testing and treatment are other tools, and “washing your hands, wearing a mask when there’s more circulating virus, staying home when you’re sick, improving ventilation. These are all layers of tools that we can use to protect ourselve[s]. We’re in a better place than we’ve ever been to be able to do that. We just need to use these tools.” She also stated, “we do still need to protect ourselves. We don’t want to see anyone fall sick when we could have prevented it.” But the vaccines, testing, and treatment are sufficient to keep the virus at bay and “I don’t see any need for mandates or those kinds of things right now.”
During Cohen’s interview with “PBS NewsHour,” co-host Amna Nawaz asked, “Speaking of the little kids, we know many of them are now back in school. And we’ve seen reports of a few schools beginning to require masking once again when they do see an uptick in the number of COVID cases in particular. Do you recommend that schools and workplaces take those steps right now?”
Cohen responded, “So, again, there are many ways that folks can protect themselves against all of the viruses that we know that are going to be circulating. Today, we’re wanting to make sure folks know to get vaccinated, vaccinated against COVID and flu and RSV if it’s available for you. But there are other tools we can use to protect ourselves. Testing and treatment is an important tool, and, of course, as you mentioned, washing your hands, wearing a mask when there’s more circulating virus, staying home when you’re sick, improving ventilation. These are all layers of tools that we can use to protect ourselve[s]. We’re in a better place than we’ve ever been to be able to do that. We just need to use these tools.”
In another interview with Charlotte NBC Affiliate WCNC, Cohen urged people to get vaccinated and said she and her family are getting vaccinated to protect themselves and ensure that they can gather together without that being put in jeopardy by getting sick.
Cohen added, “I want to make sure everyone goes out and gets vaccinated so they can protect themselves. But remember, there are other tools. There’s testing, there’s treatment, there’s washing your hands, wear a mask if there’s lots of virus around, open a window, have things outdoors. There [are] layers of protection. We don’t need to go back to any of the things of the past where we couldn’t see each other. But we do still need to protect ourselves. We don’t want to see anyone fall sick when we could have prevented it.”
WCNC Reporter and host Vanessa Ruffes then asked, “[F]or those folks who are like, oh gosh, here we are talking about the COVID vaccine again and maybe worrying if we’re going to be ever backsliding or revisiting lockdowns and stuff like that, you feel pretty confident we won’t be seeing widespread, sweeping school closures, etc., that sort of thing?”
Cohen responded, “Right now, we have all the tools we need to keep this virus at bay, if we use the vaccines and we use testing and treatment. But we always have to be humble about this virus. It could change. Something could come out of left field. … So, right now, what I see is I don’t see any need for mandates or those kinds of things right now. But we have to keep watching this virus, seeing how it changes, and if we need to make other recommendations, we will.”
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